Brian's top Hat
What has become my "signature" top hat was put together for me by a very good friend, Tina Marie Ronan. She owns numerous businesses, one of which is Heirloom Haberdashery, found at: www.facebook.com/heirloomhaberdashery. We met through the Convention and I approached her about making a hat—to showcase both my interest and her business since I intended to wear it at every event I attended. The result of this collaboration is truly one of a kind as Tina Marie said she’d never make another one with the elements on mine. She suggested a formal top hat due the "canvas" being larger.
She found an Italian top hat, known for its comfort and ability to conform over time to the wearer’s head. From there, she asked who I’d like to have on it and for a place I had visited that "really spoke to me" or had a profound feeling attached to it. As it has always been my goal to educate as best as I can, I felt it best to include very recognizable people alongside some lesser known ones. Tina Marie is not a true crime person, so I told her what implements went with each person or place. She found all of the "props" and even handcrafted the electric chair from scratch! She is simply amazing!
View or Click on the photos
below for more information.*
Take a virtual tour of the Hat.*
*Content warning. Photographs and descriptions of crimes may upset some viewers. View at your discretion.
Starting in front, going counter clockwise: John Wayne Gacy. Murdered 33 young men and boys in the Chicago-land area. Was a clown at children's hospitals and events. Used handcuffs and a garrote fashioned out of string and a stick that he placed around victims’ necks. Next is Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria. Committed numerous murders by all means and used bombs in large scale acts of terror known as Narco Terrorism.
Another "hometown" character: Alphonse Gabriel Capone. Possibly the most well-known gangster in history. He built his empire in the Chicago land area. The bat prop is based on a story that he beat a subordinate to death with a baseball bat after learning that the man was organizing Capone’s assassination with a rival. This act is immortalized in the film The Untouchables. Some historians question if Al actually did the beating or had it done.
The place that "spoke to me." The Native American (Lakota) cemetery in Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. On December 29, 1890 nearly 300 Lakota, incl. women & children, were brutally slaughtered by a detachment of the U.S. 7th Calvary Regiment. I’ve visited numerous tragic sites. This one hits hardest. Next is Charles Starkweather. At 19, he shotgunned through Nebraska & Wyoming on a month long spree with his 14-year-old girlfriend killing 11, incl. a 2-year-old child.
Top: Reverend Jim Jones. Convinced his followers to drink grape Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide & valium in what he termed "revolutionary suicide." Those that refused were forced at gunpoint or injected with the poisons. A total 909 inhabitants of "Jonestown", including 304 children, died. Bottom: Theodore Robert Bundy. Confessed to killing 28. The victim count is believed to be higher. Ted became the "poster boy" for serial killers. Used a crowbar from his VW to incapacitate a number of victims.
Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, AKA the Milwaukee Cannibal, was arrested in 1991 after the 18th victim escaped and led police to Dahmer's apt where they found skulls, body parts, & 100s of Polaroids of dismembered victims. Above him is a book I contributed to. Jeffrey admitted to eating a partial bicep of a victim he was particularly fond of. He cooked it like a steak.
Next is Edmund Emil Kemper III. "Big Ed" killed 10. Mostly coeds, but also his paternal grandparents, whom he shot & killed at 15. He also killed, mutilated, & took "liberties" with his mother. AKA the Coed Killer (before Bundy) & Big Ed (he’s 6'9"). Sometimes used an older-style revolver.
I can't go into detail about these in this limited space. To learn more about the siege and fire at Waco in 1993, the OK City bombing in 1995, and the Columbine HS shooting in 1999, please click the link.